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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Energetic St. Lucia hit The Rialto Theatre but the Tuesday crowd couldn’t keep up

    Carmen Valencia
    Electronic indie artist St. Lucia performs at the Rialto on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in Tucson, Ariz.

    Use your ears, move your feet. It’s not a concert until the kick drum resonates your chest cavity, a universal signal of life in the audience and music alike. St. Lucia brought the music, the audience tried to bring the liveliness. But most importantly, fans got the chance to dance.

    F-U-N. Yes, like the SpongeBob song. Even better, like the capital F-U-N fun sonic vibes St. Lucia sent out to the Rialto crowd Tuesday night. After two LPs and shows across the world, St. Lucia is no stranger to transforming a Tuesday night into an hour-long power pop party.

    Frontman Jean-Philip Grobler jived through familiar tunes from Matter and When the Night, along with band members Ross Clarkon on bass, Dustin Kaufman on drums, Nick Paul on keyboard/synth/drums and triple threat vocals/keyboard/spouse Patti Beranek.

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    Unfortunately for St. Lucia, the band’s greatest challenge was sparking life into a Tuesday night concert crowd.

    The crowd grew steadily throughout opening act Amadee, a local indie pop band. After the opener, the crowd settled into its role as an amorphous pop-loving organism as St. Lucia took the stage and eased into the opening song “Do You Remember.” Ease being the key word, as this Tuesday night crowd certainly required a gentle guidance to reach the level of excitement St. Lucia channels in its music.

    The crowd present represented the concert demographic well: High school plebes desperately trying to impress their crushes, middle-aged folks proving their own youth to themselves, the drunk couple aggressively grinding on each other, broke college kids (present) and, oddly enough, a middle-school girl with her dad close at hand. Believe it or not, no drunk audience members made enough of a disturbance to get tossed out. This was both to the benefit and detriment of the crowd—pleasant enough to enjoy the music yet still listless in its apprehension to let loose and go nuts.

    St. Lucia can’t be blamed for lack of trying. Say what you will, the band captures the pop-star ensemble through and through. Highly stylized wardrobe, eccentric dance moves and energy radiating strongly enough to power the strobe lights adorning the stage. It’s the little things, like the fan that must have pointed directly at Grobler’s face that enabled an hour-long celebration of his “hairodynamics,” that illustrate the band’s commitment to a good show.

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    The showmanship extended to the production quality and song selection of the set. Accompanied by fake cacti and spinning strobe lights that were straight out of an epilepsy doctor’s fever dream, the band blasted through upbeat pop anthem after anthem. 

    With quality renditions of fan favorites like “All Eyes on You,” “Physical” and “September,” few could complain about the musical aspect of the show. Yet even the EDM-esque “September,” which sounds like the soundtrack to an abduction by monsters who find it humorous to give their victims LSD, couldn’t incite the crowd into a full-on dance party.

    It’s almost as if the crowd took to heart the lyrics of the track “Dancing on Glass,” in which Grobler sings, “How long ’til we learn/ Dancing is dangerous/ How long ’til we find/ The devil inside of us.” They should have joined in on the chorus of “Never gonna stop/ Until we break it/ Dancing on glass.” Completely understandable, as not every concert can be an hour-long dance party, but few things in life can match the ecstasy of hundreds of human beings celebrating in unison.

    Such is life. St. Lucia came to play, even if the Tuesday night crowd couldn’t match the enthusiasm. The closest it came was, of course, during the encore of “Elevate,” which left the crowd jumping in unison as a wave of pop-loving humanity. Maybe next time the Tucson music crowd can elevate their dance game to the enthusiasm of St. Lucia.

    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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